Thursday, February 8, 2007

Thomas Buck (1618 – 1659)

What was on the mind of young Thomas Buck as he boarded the ship George on his way to the New World? A sense of adventure? The relief of escape? Fear of the unknown? Did he expect to return to England or remain in Virginia?

On August 21, 1635, Thomas Buck, age 17, boarded the ship George at Gravesend, England. On the ship’s passenger list, “Tho: Buck, 17” is number 112 of 151 passengers. No other Bucks are on the list. Was Thomas alone on this journey? If the names were written in order of boarding, then Thomas boarded just after William Neesun, age 21, and just before George Smith, age 20. Did Thomas know these young men?

A study of the passenger list shows the diversity of the group. The oldest person on the passenger list was John Hutchinson, age 47. The youngest was Elizabeth Banks, age 9 months along with (apparently) her brother Thomas, age 4 years. The list included a James Bankes but no female Bank or Bankes. Other apparent families included Gilliam (2 people), Higginson (2), Greene (2) and James (2). In addition to Thomas, there were 44 other teenagers – mostly in their late teens. Judging from the names, there were 22 women. There was a minister, Richard James and his wife (?) Ursula. “Theis under written names to be transported to Virginea imbarqued in the George Jo: Severne Master bound thither pr. examination of the Minister of Gravesend etc.“

September was considered the ideal time to leave England for the New World. The voyage typically required about six to eight weeks. By arriving in October or November, a shipmaster could readily trade his goods for a cargo of recently harvested tobacco.

Of those on the passenger list of the George, there is some additional information to be found about William Neesun at According to Larry Newsome, the George arrived in Virginia on October 15, 1635.

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